Monday, May 29, 2017

When It Feels Like You'll Never Get There

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've probably read about my goal of writing a novel.  It's not all that unusual a dream, and truth be told, I'm not completely sure why I have it.

I've always liked writing.  I wrote a bit in my early teenage years - nothing very good - and in high school, I stood out among my peers in several writing assignments.  I've written a few articles for various blogs and had a piece published in the online magazine, Venture (no longer around.)  I've spent much of the last six years doing some form of writing.  I've blogged here off and on, and done a lot of reading about writing and thinking about writing.  And I've also done a decent amount of  actual writing.

My first novel attempt (which doesn't even deserve that name) was little more than me figuring out how not to write a book.

My second, the book I'm working on now, deserves the title of novel.  It's been brainstormed and trashed.  Written and re-written.   Outlined and scratched and re-outlined.  I don't know how many drafts of this story I've been through to uncover the actual story that I am telling now.  I'm nearly 100,000 words in, and while I know for certain that I have the real story here, I'm still pretty far off from finishing it.

And that's the part I'm struggling with.

I want to finish this novel.  It feels like the story I was meant to write.  Like, if I never write another thing in my life, if I write this story then I will be able to move on.  To more writing or to another dream, I don't know.  But I can't move on with this story stuck inside me.

So why, in the past few months, have I considered giving up on the novel altogether?

Why, when I've come this far, would I let it fade from my life?

Because it's hard.

It's really hard to write a book.  It's hard to turn off the fun stuff, to sit in the seat, to focus on the story in my head instead of the other things on my to-do list.  To let myself be quiet long enough to hear my characters speak to me.   It's hard to put priority on the work of writing, when there's so much real work around to be done.

I've begun to see this not as just a problem with writing this book, but with accomplishing goals in general.  Any goal.

There is the idea of doing something, and then there is the work of it.  

The first few times, days or weeks even, it's exciting.  It's fun.  It's easy.  You might even think, I can do this, no problem.  All those people who said it was hard, they aren't dedicated like me.  They don't want it enough.

And that's all fine and rosy.

Until the day it's not that way.

Until you have to make yourself do it.

Until you really, really don't want to sit and write.
Or go to the gym.
Or prepare the healthy dinner.
Or make the time to connect with the people you love.
Or floss.
Or turn off the phone.
Or stop mid-swipe scanning social media and look up at real life around you.

Of course it's easy.

Until it isn't.

That's the point I'm at in quite a few places at the moment.

When things get hard, we ask ourselves: Should I stick to it?  Is it worth it?  Will I ever get there?  Where is there anyway?

I don't know where there is.  I know where it's not.  It's not waiting around until the perfect moment.  It's not putting it off for another day.  It's not pretending that tomorrow is going to be any different from today.

There - the place I want to be - is the place where I'm working toward my goals.  Living a life where I'm growing.  Where I'm evolving.  And where I'm bringing the people I love on that journey with me.

I may never finish this book.  I may never get the body that I think I want.  I may never perfect loving the people I love.  I may never do a single thing in my life that I don't look back on years later and think, "I could've done that better," or "I should've done this instead."

All I can do is see each day for what it is.  A chance to make a small shift.  A chance to make a choice.  A place to start from.  A chance to say yes to the things I say matter to me.  To create momentum.  To build on the day before.

To let go of the lie of tomorrow and start again today.

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